Skip to main content

Full text of "War is kind"

See other formats


I 


STEPHE 


WiLL 
BKADLEX 


FPs.LDEPvJCKA 
STOKES 


Copyright,  1 899,  by 
Frederick  A.  Stokes  Company 


Arranged  and  Printed  by  Will  Bradley  at  the 
University  Press,  Cambridge  and  New  Tork 


IS    KIND 

DO  not  weep,  maiden,  for  war  is  kind. 
Because  your  lover  threw  wild  hands 

toward  the  sky 

And  the  affrighted  steed  ran  on  alone, 
Do  not  weep. 
War  is  kind. 

Hoarse,  booming  drums  of  the  regi 
ment, 

Little  souls  who  thirst  for  fight, 

These  men  were  born  to  drill  and  die. 

The  unexplained  glory  flies  above 
them, » 

Great  is  the  battle-god,  great,  and  his 
kingdom  — 

A  field  where  a  thousand  corpses  lie. 


Do  not  weep,  babe,  for  war  is  kind. 
Because  your  father  tumbled  in  the  yellow 

trenches, 

Raged  at  his  breast,  gulped  and  died, 
Do  not  weep. 
War  is  kind. 

Swift  blazing  flag  of  the  regiment, 
Eagle  with  crest  of  red  and  gold, 
These  men  were  born  to  drill  and  die. 
Point  for  them  the  virtue  of  slaughter, 
Make  plain  to  them  the  excellence  of 

killing 
And  a  field  where  a  thousand  corpses 


lie. 


Mother  whose  heart  hung  humble  as  a  button 
On  the  bright  splendid  shroud  of  your  son, 
Do  not  weep. 
War  is  kind. 


10 


WHAT  says  the  sea,  little  shell  ? 
"  What  says  the  sea  ?. 
"  Long  has  our  brother  been  silent  to  us, 
"  Kept  his  message  for  the  ships, 
"  Awkward  ships,  stupid  ships." 


n 


"  The  sea  bids  you  mourn,  O  Pines, 

"  Sing  low  in  the  moonlight. 

"  He  sends  tale  of  the  land  of  doom, 

"  Of  place  where  endless  falls 

44  A  rain  of  women's  tears, 

"  And  men  in  grey  robes  — 

"  Men  in  grey  robes  — 

"  Chant  the  unknown  pain." 


"  What  says  the  sea,  little  shell  ? 

"  What  says  the  sea  ? 

"  Long  has  our  brother  been  silent  to  us, 

"  Kept  his  message  for  the  ships, 

"  Puny  ships,  silly  ships." 


"  The  sea  bids  you  teach,  O  Pines, 

"  Sing  low  in  the  moonlight ; 

"  Teach  the  gold  of  patience, 

"  Cry  gospel  of  gentle  hands, 

"  Cry  a  brotherhood  of  hearts. 

"  The  sea  bids  you  teach,  O  Pines." 


16 


And  where  is  the  reward,  little  shell? 
What  says  the  sea? 

Long  has  our  brother  been  silent  to  us, 
Kept  his  message  for  the  ships. 
Puny  ships,  silly  ships." 


17 


f<  No  word  says  the  sea,  O  Pines, 

"  No  word  says  the  sea. 

"  Long  will  your  brother  be  silent  to  you, 

"  Keep  his  message  for  the  ships, 

"  O  puny  pines,  silly  pines." 


TO  the  maiden 
The  sea  was  blue  meadow, 
Alive  with  little  froth-people 
Singing. 


To  the  sailor,  wreckeds 

The  sea  was  dead  grey  walls 

Superlative  in  vacancy. 

Upon  which  nevertheless  at  fateful  time 

Was  written 

The  grim  hatred  of  nature. 


A  LITTLE  ink  more  or  less  ! 
It  surely  can't  matter  ? 
Even  the  sky  and  the  opulent  sea, 
The  plains  and  the  hills,  aloof, 
Hear  the  uproar  of  all  these  books. 
But  it  is  only  a  little  ink  more  or  less. 


What? 

You  define  me  God  with  these  trinkets  ? 

Can  my  misery  meal  on  an  ordered  walking 

Of  surpliced  numskulls? 

And  a  fanfare  of  lights  ? 

Or  even  upon  the  measured  pulpitings 

Of  the  familiar  false  arid  true  ? 

Is  this  God? 

Where,  then,  is  hell? 

Show  me  some  bastard  mushroom 

Sprung  from  a  pollution  of  blood. 

It  is  better. 

Where  is  God  ? 


22 


HAVE  you  ever  made  a  just  man  ?  " 
"  Oh,  I   have  made  three/'   answered 

God, 

"  But  two  of  them  are  dead, 
"  And  the  third  — 
"  Listen  !   Listen  ! 
"  And  you  will  hear  the  thud  of  his  defeat." 


I  EXPLAIN  the  silvered  passing  of  a  ship 
at  night, 

The  sweep  of  each  sad  lost  wave, 
The  dwindling  boom  of  the  steel  thing's  striv 
ing, 

The  little  cry  of  a  man  to  a  man, 
A  shadow  falling  across  the  greyer  night, 
And  the  sinking  of  the  small  star ; 


Then  the  waste,  the  far  waste  of  waters, 
And  the  soft  lashing  of  black  waves 
For  long  and  in  loneliness. 


Remember,  thou,  O  ship  of  love, 
Thou  leavest  a  far  waste  of  waters, 
And  the  soft  lashing  of  black  waves 
For  long  and  in  loneliness. 


"  T   HAVE  heard  the  sunset  song  of  the 

*•          birches, 

"  A  white  melody  in  the  silence, 
"  I  have  seen  a  quarrel  of  the  pines. 
"At  nightfall 

"  The  little  grasses  have  rushed  by  me 
"  With  the  wind  men. 
"These    things    have    I    lived/*   quoth    the 

maniac, 

"  Possessing  only  eyes  and  ears. 
"But  you  — 
"  You  don  green  spectacles  before  you  look 

at  roses/' 


FAST  rode  the  knight 
With  spurs,  hot  and  reeking, 
Ever  waving  an  eager  sword, 
"  To  save  my  lady  !  " 
Fast  rode  the  knight, 
And  leaped  from  saddle  to  war. 
Men  of  steel  flickered  and  gleamed 
Like  riot  of  silver  lights, 
And  the  gold  of  the  knight's  good  banner 
Still  waved  on  a  castle  wall. 
•         ..»••• 
A  horse, 

Blowing,  staggering,  bloody  thing, 
Forgotten  at  foot  of  castle  wall. 
A  horse 
Dead  at  foot  of  castle  wall. 


FORTH  went  the  candid  man 
And  spoke  freely  to  the  wind  — 
When  he  looked  about  him  he  was  in  a  far 
strange  country. 


Forth  went  the  candid  man 
And  spoke  freely  to  the  stars  — 
Yellow  light  tore  sight  from  his  eyes. 


"  My  good  fool,"  said  a  learned  bystander, 
"  Your  operations  are  mad." 


33 


"  You  are  too  candid,"  cried  the  candid  man. 
And    when    his    stick    left  the  head  of  the 

learned  bystander 
It  was  two  sticks. 


34 


YOU  tell  me  this  is  God? 
I  tell  you  this  is  a  printed  list, 
A  burning  candle  and  an  ass. 


ON  the  desert 
A   silence    from   the  moon's   deepest 

valley. 

Fire  rays  fall  athwart  the  robes 
Of  hooded  men,  squat  and  dumb. 
Before  them,  a  woman 
Moves  to  the  blowing  of  shrill  whistles 
And  distant-thunder  of  drums, 
While    mystic    things,    sinuous,    dull    with 

terrible  color, 
Sleepily  fondle  her  body 
Or  move  at  her  will,  swishing  stealthily  over 

the  sand. 

The  snakes  whisper  softly  ; 
The  whispering,  whispering  snakes, 
Dreaming  and  swaying  and  staring, 
But  always  whispering,  softly  whispering. 
The  wind  streams  from  the  lone  reaches 
Of  Arabia,  solemn  with  night, 
And  the  wild  fire  makes  shimmer  of  blood 
Over  the  robes  of  the  hooded  men 
Squat  and  dumb. 


Bands  of  moving  bronze,  emerald,  yellow, 
Circle  the  throat  and  the  arms  of  her, 
And  over  the  sands  serpents  move  warily 
Slow,  menacing  and  submissive, 
Swinging  to  the  whistles  and  drums, 
The  whispering,  whispering  snakes, 
Dreaming  and  swaying  and  staring, 
But  always  whispering,  softly  whispering. 
The  dignity  of  the  accursed; 
The  glory  of  slavery,  despair,  death, 
Is  in  the  dance  of  the  whispering  snakes. 


. 


A   NEWSPAPER  is  a  collection  of  half-. 
-**.     injustices 

Which,  bawled  by  boys  from  mile  to  mile, 
Spreads  its  curious  opinion 
To  a  million  merciful  and  sneering  men, 
While  families  cuddle  the  joys  of  the  fireside 
When  spurred  by  tale  of  dire  lone  agony. 
A  newspaper  is  a  court 
Where  every  one  is  kindly  and  unfairly  tried 
By  a  squalor  of  honest  men. 
A  newspaper  is  a  market 
Where  wisdom  sells  its'  freedom 
And  melons  are  crowned  by  the  crowd. 
A  newspaper  is  a  game 
Where  his  error  scores  the  player  victory 
While  another's  skill  wins  death. 
A  newspaper  is  a  symbol ; 
It  is  fetless  life's  chronicle, 
A  collection  of  loud  tales 
Concentrating  eternal  stupidities, 
That  in  remote  ages  lived  unhaltered, 
Roaming  through  a  fenceless  world. 


40 


THE  wayfarer, 
Perceiving  the  pathway  to  truth, 
Was  struck  with  astonishment. 
It  was  thickly  grown  with  weeds. 
"  Ha,"  he  said, 

"  I  see  that  none  has  passed  here 
"In  a  long  time." 
Later  he  saw  that  each  weed 
Was  a  singular  knife. 
<f  Well,"  he  mumbled  at  last, 
"  Doubtless  there  are  other  roads." 


41 


ASLANT  of  sun  on  dull  brown  walls, 
A  forgotten  sky  of  bashful  blue. 

Toward  God  a  mighty  hymn, 

A  song  of  collisions  and  cries, 

Rumbling  wheels,  hoof-beats,  bells, 

Welcomes,  farewells,  love-calls,  final  moans, 

Voices  of  joy,  idiocy,  warning,  despair, 

The  unknown  appeals  of  brutes, 

The  chanting  of  flowers, 

The  screams  of  cut  trees, 

The  senseless  babble  of  hens  and  wise  men  — 

A   d"  tiered   incoherency   that   says  at   the 

stars  : 
«  O  God,  save  us  !  " 


ONCE  a  man  clambering  to  the  housetops 
Appealed  to  the  heavens. 
With   strong   voice    he   called    to   the  deaf 

spheres ; 

A  warrior's  shout  he  raised  to  the  suns. 
Lo,  at  last,  there  was  a  dot  on  the  clouds, 
And  —  at  last  and  at  last-  — 
—  God — the  sky  was  filled  with  armies. 


THERE  was  a  man  with  tongue  of  wood 
Who  essayed  to  sing. 
And  in  truth  it  was  lamentable. 
But  there  was  one  who  heard 
The  clip-clapper  of  this  tongue  of  wood 
And  knew  what  the  man 
Wished  to  sing, 
And  with  that  the  singer  was  content. 


44 


THE  successful  man  has  thrust  himself 
Through  the  water  of  the  years, 
Reeking  wet  with  mistakes, — 
Bloody  mistakes ; 

Slimed  with  victories  over  the  lesser, 
A  figure  thankful  on  the  shore  of  money. 
Then,  with  the  bones  of  fools 
He  buys  silken  banners 
Limned  with  his  triumphant  face; 
With  the  skins  of  wise  men 
He  buys  the  trivial  bows  of  all. 
Flesh  painted  with  marrow 
Contributes  a  coverlet, 
A  coverlet  for  his  contented  slumber. 
In. guiltless  ignorance,  in  ignorant  guilt, 
He  delivered  his  secrets  to  the  riven  multi 
tude. 

"  Thus  I  defended  :  Thus  I  wrought/' 
Complacent,  smiling, 
He  stands  heavily  on  the  dead. 
Erect  on  a  pillar  of  skulls 
He  declaims  his  trampling  of  babes  ; 
Smirking,  fat,  dripping, 
He  makes  speech  in  guiltless  ignorance, 
Innocence. 


TN  the  night 

-*•     Grey  heavy  clouds  muffled  the  valleys, 
And  the  peaks  looked  toward  God  alone. 
C£  O  Master  that  movest  the  wind  with  a 

finger, 

"  Humble,  idle,  futile  peaks  are  we. 
t "  Grant  that  we  may  run  swiftly  across 

the  world 
"  To  huddle  in  worship  at  Thy  feet." 


46 


In  the  morning 

A  noise  of  men  at  work  came  the  clear  blue 

miles. 

And  the  little  black  cities  were  apparent. 
"  O   Master  that   knowest   the  meaning 

of  raindrops, 

"  Humble,  idle,  futile  peaks  are  we. 
"  Give  voice  to  us,  we  pray,  O  Lord, 
"That  we  may  sing  Thy  goodness   to 
the  sun." 


47 


In  the  evening 

The   far   valleys   were    sprinkled   with    tiny 

lights.  " 
"  O  Master, 
"Thou  that  knowest  the  value  of  kings 

and  birds., 
"  Thou  hast  made  us  humble,  idle,  futile 

peaks. 

"Thou  only  needest  eternal  patience ; 
"  We  bow  to  Thy  wisdom,  O  Lord  — 
"  Humble,  idle,  futile  peaks." 


In  the  night 

Grey  heavy  clouds  muffled  the  valleys, 

And  the  peaks  looked  toward  God  alone, 


49 


THE  chatter  of  a  death-demon  from  a 
tree-top. 


Blood  — •  blood  and  torn  grass  — • 

Had  marked  the  rise  of  his  agony  — 

This  lone  hunter. 

The  grey-green  woods  impassive 

Had  watched  the  threshing  of  his  limbs. 


A  canoe  with  flashing  paddle, 
A  girl  with  soft  searching  eyes, 
A  call:  "John!" 

Come,  arise,  hunter  i 
Can  you  not  hear  ? 


The  chatter  of  a  death-demon  from  a  tree- 
top. 


53 


THE  impact  of  a  dollar  upon  the  heart 
Smiles  warm  red  light. 
Sweeping  from  the  hearth  rosily  upon  the 

white  table, 

With  the  hanging  cool  velvet  shadows 
Moving  softly  upon  the  door. 


54 


The  impact  of  a  million  dollars 

Is  a  crash  of  flunkys, 

And  yawning  emblems  of  Persia 

Cheeked  against  oak,  France  and  a  sabre, 

The  outcry  of  old  beauty 

Whored  by  pimping  merchants 

To  submission  before  wine  and  chatter. 

Silly  rich  peasants  stamp  the  carpets  of  men. 

Dead  men  who  dreamed  fragrance  and  light 

Into  their  woof,  their  lives; 

The  rug  of  an  honest  bear 

Under  the  feet  of  a  cryptic  slave 

Who  speaks  always  of  baubles, 

Forgetting  state,  multitude,  work,  and  state, 

Champing  and  mouthing  of  hats, 

Making  ratful  squeak  of  hats, 

Hats. 


55 


A  MAN  said  to  the  universe  : 
«  Sir,  I  exist !  " 

"  However/*  replied  the  universe, 
"  The  fact  has  not  created  in  me 
"  A  sense  of  obligation/' 


WHEN  the  prophet,  a  complacent 
man, 

Arrived  at  the  mountain-top, 
He  cried :  "  Woe  to  my  knowledge ! 
"  I  intended  to  see  good  white  lands 
"And  bad  black  lands, 
"  But  the  scene  is  grey/* 


fat 


57 


THERE    was   a    land    where   lived   no 
violets. 

A  traveller  at  once  demanded  :  "  Why  ? " 
The  people  told  him  : 

•"  Once  the  violets  of  this  place  spoke  thus : 
" c  Until  some  woman  freely  gives  her  lover 
"c  To  another  woman 
" c  We  will  fight  in  bloody  scuffle/  " 
Sadly  the  people  added  : 
"  There  are  no  violets  here." 


THERE  was  one  I  met  upon  the  road 
Who  looked  at  me  with  kind  eyes. 
He  said :  "  Show  me  of  your  wares/' 
And  I  did, 
Holding  forth  one. 
He  said:  "It  is- a- sin." 
Then  I  held  forth  another. 
He  said:  "  It  is  a  sin." 
.Then  I  held  forth  another. 
He  said:  "  It  is  a  sin." 
And  so  to  the  end. 
Always  He  said  :  "  It  is  a  sin." 
At  last,  I  cried  out : 
"  But  I  have  none  other." 
He  looked  at  me 
With  kinder  eyes. 
"  Poor  soul,"  he  said. 


AYE,  workman,  make  me  a  dream, 
A  dream  for  my  love. 
Cunningly  weave  sunlight, 
Breezes,  and  flowers. 
Let  it  be  of  the  cloth  of  meadows. 
And  —  good  workman  — 
And  let  there  be  a  man  walking  thereon, 


60 


EACH  small  gleam  was  a  voice, 
A  lantern  voice  — 

In  little  songs  of  carmine,  violet,  green,  gold. 
A  chorus  of  colors  came  over  the  water; 
The  wondrous  leaf-shadow  no  longer  wavered, 
No  pines  crooned  on  the  hills, 
The  blue  night  was  elsewhere  a  silence, 
When  the   chorus  of  colors  came  over  the 

water, 
Little  songs  of  carmine,  violet,  green,  gold. 


Small  glowing  pebbles 

Thrown  on  the  dark  plane  of  evening 

Sing  good  ballads  of  God 

And  eternity,  with  soul's  rest. 

Little  priests,  little  holy  fathers, 

None  can  doubt  the  truth  of  your  hymning, 

When  the  marvellous  chorus  comes  over  the 

water, 
Songs  of  carmine,  violetj  green,  gold. 


THE  trees  in  the  garden  rained  flowers, 
Children  run  there  joyously. 
They  gathered  the  flowers 
Each  to  himself. 
Now  there  were  some 
Who  gathered  great  heaps  — 
Having  opportunity  and  skill  — 
Until,  behold,  only  chance  blossoms 
Remained  for  the  feeble. 
Then  a  little  spindling  tutor 
Ran  importantly  to  the  father,  crying : 
"  Pray,  come  hither  ! 
"  See  this  unjust  thing  in  your  garden  ! " 
But  when  the  father  had  surveyed, 
He  admonished  the  tutor: 
"  Not  so.,  small  sage ! 
<c  This  thing  is  just. 
"  For,  look  you, 

"  Are  not  they  who  possess  the  flowers 
cc  Stronger,  bolder,  shrewder 
"  Than  they  who  have  none  ? 
<c  Why  should  the  strong  — 
"  The  beautiful  strong  — 
"  Why  should  they  not  have  the  flowers  ? 


Upon    reflection,   the    tutor    bowed    to    the 

ground. 

"  My  lord,"  he  said, 
"The  stars  are  displaced 
cc  By  this  towering  wisdom/* 


66 


^INTRIGUE 

HpHOU  art  my  love, 

•*•     And  thou  art  the  peace  of  sundown. 
When  the  blue  shadows  soothe, 
And  the  grasses  and  the  leaves  sleep 
To  the  song  of  the  little  brooks, 
Woe  is  me. 


Thou  art  my  love, 

And  thou  art  a  storm 

That  breaks  black  in  the  sky, 

And,  sweeping  headlong, 

Drenches  and  cowers  each  tree, 

And  at  the  panting  end 

There  is  no  sound 

Save  the  melancholy  cry  of  a  single  owl 

Woe  is  me  I 


68 


Thou  art  my  love, 

And  thou  art  a  tinsel  thing. 

And  I  in  my  play 

Broke  thee  easily. 

And  from  the  little  fragments 

Arose  my  long  sorrow  — - 

Woe  is  me. 


Thou  art  my  love, 
And  thou  art  a  weary  violet, 
Drooping  from  sun-caresses, 
Answering  mine  carelessly  — 
Woe  is  me. 


A 


Thou  art  my  love, 

And  thou  art  the  ashes  of  other  men's  love, 

And  I  bury  my  face  in  these  ashes, 

And  I  love  them  — 

'Woe  is  me. 


71 


Thou  art  my  love, 
And  thou  art  the  beard 
On  another  man's  face  — 
Woe  is  me. 


Thou  art  my  love, 

And  thou  art  a  temple, 

And  in  this  temple  is  an  altar, 

And  on  this  altar  is  my  heart — 

Woe  is  me. 


Thou  art  my  love. 

And  thou  art  a  wretch. 

Let  these  sacred  love-lies  choke  thee, 

From  I  am  come  to  where  I  know  your  lies 

as  truth 

And  your  truth  as  lies  — 
Woe  is  me. 


74 


Thou  art  my  love, 

And  thou  art  a  priestess, 

And  in  thy  hand  is  a  bloody  dagger, 

And  my  doom  comes  to  me  surely  — 

Woe  is  me. 


77 


Thou  art  my  love. 

And  thou  art  a  skull  with  ruby 

And  I  love  thee  — 

Woe  is  me. 


Thou  art  my  love, 

And  I  doubt  thee. 

And  if  peace  came  with  thy  murder 

Then  would  I  murder  — 

Woe  is  me. 


79 


Thou  art  my  love, 

And  thou  art  death, 

Aye,  thou  art  death 

Black  and  yet  black3 

But  I  love  thee, 

I  love  thee  — 

Woe,  welcome  woe,  to  me. 


80 


LOVE,  forgive  me  if  I  wish  you  grief. 
For  in  your  grief 
You  huddle  to  my  breast, 
And  for  it 
Would  I  pay  the  price  of  your  grief. 


81 


You  walk  among  men 
And  all  men  do  not  surrender. 
And  thus  I  understand 
That  love  reaches  his  hand 
In  mercy  to  me. 


8  a 


He  had  your  picture  in  his  room, 

A  scurvy  traitor  picture, 

And  he  smiled 

—  Merely  a  fat  complacence  of  men  who 

know  fine  women  — 
And  thus  I  divided  with  him 
A  part  of  my  love. 


Fool,  not  to  know  that  thy  little  shoe 

Can  make  men  weep  ! 

—  Soire  men  weep. 

I  weep  and  I  gnash, 

And  I  love  the  little  shoe, 

The  little,  little  shoe. 


84 


God  give  me  medals, 

God  give  me  loud  honors, 

That  I  may  strut  before  you,  sweetheart, 

And  be  worthy  of — 

The  love  I  bear  you. 


Now  let  me  crunch  you 

With  full  weight  of  affrighted  love. 

I  doubted  you 

—  I  doubted  you  — 

And  in  this  short  doubting 

My  love -grew  like  a  genie 

For  my  further  undoing. 


86 


Beware  of  my  friends, 

Be  not  in  speech  too  civil) 

For  in  ail  courtesy 

My  weak  heart  sees  spectres, 

Mists  of  desire 

Arising  from  the  lips  of  my  chosen ; 

Be  not  civil. 


The  flower  I  gave  thee  once 
Was  incident  to  a  stride, 
A  detail  of  a  gesture, 
But  search  those  pale  petals 
And  see  engraven  thereon 
A  record  of  my  intention. 


AH,  God,  the  way  your  little  finger  moved, 
As  you  thrust  a  bare  arm  backward 
And  made  play  with  your  hair 
And  a  comb,  a  silly  gilt  comb 
—  Ah,  God  —  that  1  should  suffer 
Because  of  the  way  a  little  ringer  moved. 


ONCE  I  saw  thee  idly  rocking 
—  Idly  rocking  — 

And  chattering  girlishly  to  other  girls. 
Bell-voiced,  happy. 
Careless  with  the  stout  heart  of  unscarred 

womanhood, 

And  life  to  thee  was  all  light  melody. 
I  thought  of  the  great  storms  of  love  as  I 

knew  it. 
Torn,  miserable,  and  ashamed  of  my  open 

sorrow, 
I  thought  of  the  thunders  that  lived  in  my 

head, 

And  I  wish  to  be  an  ogre, 
And  hale  and  haul  my  beloved  to  a  castle, 
And  there  use  the  happy  cruel  one  cruelly, 
And  make  her  mourn  with  my  mourning. 


9° 


TELL  me  why,  behind  thee, 
I  see  always  the  shadow  of  another  lover  ? 
Is  it  real, 
Or  is  this  the   thrice    damned  memory  of  a 

better  happiness  ? 
Plague  on  him  if  he  be  dead, 
Plague  on  him  if  he  be  alive  — • 
A  swinish  numskull 
To  intrude  his  shade 
Always  between  me  and  niy  peace  ! 


AND  yet  I  have  seen  thee  happy  with  me. 
I  am  no  fool 

To  poll  stupidly  into  iron. 
I  have  heard  your  quick  breaths 
And  seen  your  arms  writhe  toward  me ; 
.At  those  times 
help  us 

I  was  impelled  to  be  a  grand  knight. 
And  swagger  and  snap 'my  fingers, 
And  explain  my  mind  finely. 
Oh,  lost  sweetheart, 

I  would  that  I  had  not  been  a  grand  knight. 
I  said  :  e<  Sweetheart." 
Thou  said'st :  "  Sweetheart/' 
And  we  preserved  an  admirable  mimicry 
Without  heeding  the  drip  of  the  blood 
From  my  heart. 


I   HEARD  thee  laugh, 
And  in  this  merriment 
I  defined  the  measure  of  my  pain  ; 
I  knew  that  I  was  alone, 
Alone  with  love, 
Poor  shivering  love, 
And  he,  little  sprite, 
Came  to  watch  with  me, 
And  at  midnight 

We  were  like  two  creatures  by  a  dead  camp- 
fire. 


93 


I  WONDER  if  sometimes  in  the  dusk, 
When  the    brave  lights    that  gild  th] 

evenings 

Have  not  yet  been  touched  with  flame, 
I  wonder  if  sometimes  in  the  dusk 
Thou  rememberest  a  time, 
A  time  when  thou  loved  me 
And  our  love  was  to  thee  thy  all  ? 
Is  the  memory  rubbish  now  ? 
An  old  gown 

Worn  in  an  age  of  other  fashions  ? 
Woe  is  me,  oh,  lost  one, 
For  that  love  is  now  to  me 
A  supernal  dream, 
White,  white,  white  with  many  suns. 


94 


LOVE  met  me  at  noonday, 
—  Reckless  imp, 
To  leave  his  shaded  nights 
And  brave  the  glare, — 
And  I  saw  him  then  plainly 
For  a  bungler, 

A  stupid,  simpering,  eyeless  bungler, 
Breaking  the  hearts  of  brave  people 
As  the  snivelling  idiot-boy  cracks  his  bowl, 
And  I  cursed  him, 

Cursed  him  to  and  fro,  back  and  forth, 
Into  all  the  silly  mazes  of  his  mind, 
But  in  the  end 

He  laughed  and  pointed  to  my  breast, 
Where  a  heart  still  beat  for  thee,  beloved. 


I   HAVE  seen  thy  face  aflame 
For  love  of  rne, 
Thy  fair  arms  go  mad, 
Thy  lips  tremble  and  mutter  and  rave. 
And  —  surely  — 
This  should  leave  a  man  content  ? 
Thou  lovest  not  me  now, 
But  thou  didst  love 'me, 
And  in  loving  me  once 
Thou  gavest  me  an  eternal  privilege, 
For  I  can  think  of  thee. 


HolmesJBook  Co, 

704-708  Mission  St 
1149  Market  St. 


f